Tsunami warnings on Friday morning

Earthquakes off the coast of Te Araroa on the East Cape of the North Island and another near the Kermadec Islands brought warnings of a tsunami last week. Residents near Te Araroa were woken with a loud siren to move to the hills. About an hour later residents of parts of Northland received a similar warning to move to higher ground.

The East Cape earthquake was 7.1 and the Kermadec Islands was 8.1. The Kermadecs are about 1,000km North East of Auckland, and New Zealand scientists often visit there but fortunately there was no one on the islands at that time.

A message from NZ National Emergency Centre came later in the morning that people could return home as there was no longer a risk of a tsunami.

What is a tsunami? This is a Japanese word. In the past, we have called this a tidal wave but this doesn’t give any idea of the size or danger. A tsunami is a series of very high waves, maybe more than 10 high, which can travel long distances inland. It is caused by an earthquake off the coast. In December 2004, a tsunami in the Indian Ocean, killed more 200,000 people.


residents (n) – people who live in that area

siren (n)– loud noise used by police to warn people of danger

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